Parliamentary Committees: Between the Two Governments

IA continued to monitor the work of five parliamentary committees from October 2022 to October 2023. This period was characterized by uneven intensity in the committees’ work and the absence of adopted work plans for the current year. Check out these and other data in our infographic: 


Security clearance procedures in the Police

Security obstacles for further work were determined for 16 police officers.


The Commission for Checking Security Obstacles of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has determined this since its formation on May 10, 2022.

According to the Law on Internal Affairs, security obstacles for further work in the police profession exist if an individual:

  • Maintains connections with members of organized criminal groups, terrorists, and individuals who unlawfully collect data or are suspected to belong to such groups or if he or she is registered as a user of narcotics.

The Commission cannot act on its initiative, since checks can only be initiated upon the request of the immediate supervisor of police officers. In the first year of operation until May 2023, the Commission received only 3 requests, while in the second half of the year, the number increased. The total number of review requests was 23, as of November 10, 2023. Out of the 23 initiated proceedings, the Commission has so far prepared 16 reports with an opinion on the existence of security obstacles for further work in the police profession, according to data provided through requests for free access to information.

The existence of security obstacles for further work in the police profession constitutes a serious violation of the official duties of police officers, based on which a disciplinary proceeding can be initiated. IA will continue to monitor these proceedings until the outcome and observe the impact of the identified security obstacles.

The Commission submits reports with opinions on the existence of security obstacles to the minister within 30 days of conducting the checks. In addition to the minister, these reports are also submitted to the Committee on Security and Defense for information.

Immediate supervisors have submitted requests for the review of police officers from the following organizational units:

  • Security Department Kotor: 4 individuals;
  • Security Department Podgorica: 6 individuals;
  • Security Department Bijelo Polje: 1 individual;
  • Sector for Combating Crime: 4 individuals;
  • Sector for Special Purposes: 2 individuals;
  • Department for the Coordination of Police and Related Activities: 1 individual;
  • Border Police Sector: 5 individuals.

In addition to checking security obstacles for already active police officers, this Commission is also responsible for conducting checks for those who are yet to enter the police system. The Commission performs checks when establishing an employment relationship in a police profession, hiring interns, admission to basic or higher police education, as well as for the continuation of internship, training, or professional development.


Dragana Jaćimović

Public Policy Researcher


Disciplinary Procedures in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP)

The Disciplinary Commission of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Montenegro identified the responsibility of police officers in 16 cases during the year 2022, while in 7 cases, police officers were acquitted of disciplinary responsibility. This Commission is responsible for conducting procedures for serious violations of official duty. The report from this commission does not provide information on the specific violations for which responsibility was established, only indicating cases where a disciplinary procedure was initiated.

According to the report, in one case, there was a delay in the procedure, while in 8 cases, the completion of procedures before other competent authorities is pending. The Commission issued decisions to suspend disciplinary proceedings in 6 cases due to the withdrawal of the disciplinary prosecutor’s decisions to initiate proceedings or the termination of employment.

In 2022, the Commission received 77 cases. According to decisions to initiate disciplinary proceedings, in 52 cases, officials were charged with serious violations of the Law on Internal Affairs, while in 25 cases, violations of the Law on Civil Servants and Employees were considered.

Concerning serious violations of the Law on Internal Affairs, there was a slight increase in the number of cases compared to 2021. The majority of initiated disciplinary proceedings related to the violation of rules and standards established by the Code of Police Ethics. In contrast to the previous two years, when there were no proceedings for taking or not taking action that hinders or obstructs the performance of police duties and the execution of official tasks, in 2022, 10 proceedings were initiated for the mentioned violation. One disciplinary proceeding was initiated due to corruption.

It is worth noting that these procedures were previously under the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Commission for all state officials and employees, while a separate disciplinary commission for the Ministry of Internal Affairs was formed at the end of 2021.

The report of the Disciplinary Commission of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is not publicly available, and IA obtained it through a freedom of information request. The report can be downloaded here.

The table provides an overview of initiated disciplinary proceedings for the years 2021 and 2022:

Programme Budgeting in Montenegro: Contribution to Gender Equality or Just a Tick in a Box?

Although programme budgeting should allow us to see who in society benefits from the budget, in practice in most cases this is not the case. When one digs deeper into the analysis of requests for budget funds and reports on budget execution, it is evident that programme budgeting is not sufficiently developed, especially in the part of gender-responsive budgeting. Spending units do not prepare semi-annual reports on budget execution in a timely manner, while there are frequent cases of requests and reports on budget execution that lack indicators or explanations for spent funds. When it comes to gender-responsive program budgeting in practice, the number of gender-responsive goals and indicators of programs, subprograms and activities of spending units is not satisfactory.

Numerous spending units improperly mark their goals as gender responsive, although they are not or are not accompanied by indicators that would translate the promise of reducing gender differences into budget funds. Thus, there can be a wrong picture of the situation and the data that says that a significant number of spending units have gender-sensitive budgets, and that no further improvement is needed in this area. The fact that in the analysed requests for budget funds, out of a total of 315 indicators, there are only 5 indicators that are gender responsive, or 1.5% of all indicators, speaks of the insufficient gender balance of the budget.

A call to prevent further undermining of local-level recruitment

The members of the new parliamentary majority have decided to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors and ignore clear warnings from the European Commission, once again proposing amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government that lower recruitment conditions.


We also remind you that the same amendments were proposed last year, which, among other things, aimed to lower the recruitment conditions in local government bodies and services. Additionally, the rule that acting officials should be appointed from among the already employed in the public body would be deleted. These amendments did not come into force due to the political crisis that ensued, and in the meantime, clear warnings from the European Commission have arrived.

It is particularly concerning the number of different political actors who are determined to adopt these changes, considering that the composition of the parliamentary majority has changed compared to last year. Despite the changes, if they persist in this initiative, the intention of political actors to, when in power, use it for the distribution of spoils in public administration will remain the same, and assurances of a different approach and meritocracy will be empty words.

In the 2023 Report on Montenegro, the European Commission warned that instead of improving the Law on Civil Servants and Employees, whose amendments had previously lowered employment conditions and introduced discretionary power for the dismissal of heads of bodies, controversial amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government were passed in the Parliament, disregarding their previous recommendations.

“Relaxed conditions are a constant source of concern when it comes to merit-based and competency-driven employment and the independence of civil servants,” warned the European Commission.

The proposed amendments are contrary to the ongoing work on amending the Law on Civil Servants and Employees, which aims to tighten recruitment conditions. The latest working version of the amendments, which the Institute Alternative had insight into through its membership in the working group, increases the number of required years of work experience for performing tasks at different levels of civil service, which is in line with our advocacy. Thus, the argument in the rationale for this legislative initiative about the need to harmonize employment conditions at the local and state levels simply does not hold.

We also remind you of a comprehensive analysis of the legal framework and practices of employment in the public sector conducted by the Institute Alternative. The research results are presented in an interactive form at and show that basic conditions for preventing corruption and inappropriate influences during employment are mostly not met in state and local administration, public enterprises, and public institutions. The local level is, conditionally speaking, “best rated,” precisely because legal changes that would further undermine the institute of acting and conditions of employment were not introduced.

Therefore, we once again call on the MPs to abandon the proposed amendments, and the entire new convocation of the Parliament to address the “red flags” that practically legalize various forms of non-competitive employment not based on merit. The proposed amendments are a step further from pre-election promises about meritocracy in Montenegro and send a negative signal regarding obligations on the path to EU accession.


Milena Muk

Institute Alternative

Phantom savings in the budget for the year 2024

Nearly a month after the legal deadline, the Government has submitted the budget proposal to the Parliament – some of our key observations are as follows (originally published in an article for the daily newspaper Vijesti).


Phantom Savings

Savings or rationalizations are absent in both the budget rebalances for the year 2023 and the budget proposal for 2024. It is important not to trust statements but to look at the figures, and they indicate that there is no reduction in “non-productive expenses” either by 200 or 35 million. In reality, there will be an increase in the current budget by 7% or 83 million, which includes an increase in all traditionally criticized positions.

A 5% reduction in official trips or representation, totaling around 300 thousand, is not beneficial when, for service contracts alone, we are giving almost a quarter more than the plan for this year, or 4 million more in total (a sum of 21 million).

Reducing “non-productive spending” should result from in-depth analyses of budget lines and precise cuts accompanied by changes in laws and established practices, not be subject to political maneuvering and superficial statements. The budget proposal does not indicate that such efforts have been made so far.

Never More Numerous, Never Better Paid Administration

The gross salaries of employees in the administration have increased by 40 million compared to the current year and will amount to 675 million in 2024. This increase comes in an already record-breaking current year, where we are paying 100 million more for salaries in public administration than the previous year. Even this planned amount will not be sufficient, as unions protest that the budget does not incorporate everything negotiated in collective agreements. Moreover, there are announcements of new parliamentary amendments to the Law on the Salaries of Public Sector Employees, selectively increasing coefficients for certain professions.

This represents a staggering increase in this budget item, caused by the growth in the number of employees, salary increases negotiated in new collective agreements, and the parliamentary finalization of the already porous Law on the Salaries of Public Sector Employees.

There has never been a greater number of employees, and they have never cost us more, it has been a long time since there was less talk about the need for optimization. Optimization cannot be the individual responsibility of each minister, nor does the role of the Minister of Finance in this area end with reducing the number of staff positions in their ministry. The Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance must decisively halt irrational hiring, not only in the central administration but also indirectly, through the legal framework and in state-owned enterprises, public institutions, and, through special measures, in municipalities. The new law on the salaries of public sector employees must be a priority for the new government and the Ministry of Finance to regulate the currently poorly controlled chaos.

Capital Budget

There seems to be a discrepancy in the figures regarding the capital budget. The Prime Minister stated that, through the traffic light system, they decided to retain only projects that are mature in the new budget. However, the Minister of Finance recently stated that out of 374 projects in this year’s budget, 215 are entirely “dead,” and not a single cent has been spent on them this year due to the impracticality of these project ideas. How did we then end up with 330 projects after the triage was done? Some “dead” projects have been retained.

The second problematic figure is the “new” projects, which are 80, even though the working group of the same ministry selected only 18 from all the ideas for new projects a month ago, acknowledging that this selection might be excessive due to the immaturity of the ideas. Where did these new 60 projects suddenly come from, and what are their assessments? That is what the Government needs to share with the public, along with the rest of the information.

Employee salaries have increased more than the capital budget – next year, we will have an approximately 10% larger capital budget, with almost the same number of projects, except for one (highway) worth 90 million – meaning that only 190 million will be left for the remaining 329 projects.

It’s good that there is consideration for reforming the capital budget, and it’s positive that a new directorate has been formed in the Ministry for this purpose. However, it’s worth reminding that, by criticizing the current situation, Prime Minister Spajic essentially criticized the work of Finance Minister Spajic, particularly his actions in 2021 when, through the program “Montenegro Now,” he introduced hundreds of immature projects into the budget, accepting almost everything that came from municipalities or lawmakers as an idea.

The Case of RTCG

It is unclear why, among all the consumers whose budgets are determined by law, only RTCG is proposed for a change in funding in the laws accompanying the budget. At least ten other entities in our system have their budgets determined by a percentage.

The fiscal strategy from the end of 2021, which everyone seems to have forgotten (including the Fiscal Council, which we still do not have), prescribed the elimination of all percentage budget allocations.

The existing solution linking RTCG funding to a percentage of GDP (?!) has been awkward from the start and needs clarification. However, a bad solution cannot be replaced by an even worse and vaguer one, especially by proposed laws that have not undergone public discussion, are not accompanied by an impact analysis, and no one inside or outside the administration has heard of them until they appeared on the government’s website.


We hope that the MPs will manage to thoroughly examine the budget in the short time they have before the start of the year and, above all, that they will not make it even worse. In other words, the ruling majority will refrain from conditioning the adoption of the budget with amendments to an already problematic capital budget.

Marko Sošić

What the budget for the year 2024 brings, how the state will spend money, how it will collect it, and what it all looks like in a ten-year review of budgetary data can be found on our portal “Moj novac”